Keeping sponsors happy is no easy proposition given the premium they are paying, but when it comes to majors we rarely have to deal with the bill payers. In elevating the Evian to major status, even when the tour already had four, the Golf Gods have worked dilligently to make that decision look bad.
After first round play of the 2017 Evian was called at 10 am due to rain and the slate wiped clean, the understandable griping began.
Beth Ann Baldry for Golfweek:
This was the best decision, Whan said, to “have the cleanest, fairest competitive round that’s still going to finish on a Sunday with somebody jumping from an airplane with a flag behind them.”
That last statement, which refers to the elaborate 18th green celebration that includes a parachutist, shows the importance to the sponsor of having a Sunday finish. No tournament on the LPGA schedule has more glitz and glamour than Evian, where there are galas and cocktail parties and fireworks that rival Disney World throughout the week. Evian rolls out the pink carpet here, and it’s lovely to see.
But, as one player put it, “it’s never been about golf here.”
Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel says this is a credibility killer for Evian as a major, if it had much to begin with.
If you want the Evian to be viewed like a major – and, to be fair, its worthiness was debated long before this week – then you have to treat it like one. Every attempt should be made to play 72 holes.
And Steve Eubanks at Global Golf Post talked or texted with many and no one was pleased with the Commissioner.
He’s was right about that last part. Whan has seldom blundered in his tenure as commissioner. If anything, he’s worked far more miracles than he’s made mistakes. But this was a whiff. Yes, the golf course was wet (although by 4 p.m. in France, the sun was shining and there was very little wind).
While this is a credibility killing moment for the Evian and LPGA Tour's bid to force unwanted major status on us since 2013, but the episode also reminds us that for all of our quibbles with the various majors, they have earned credibility by insisting on playing 72 holes and never shaping the conclusion around a parachutist.